Move To Recall California's FAST Act Gathers More Than 1 Million Signatures
On December 5, the IFA announced the submission of more than 1 million petition signatures from California voters in opposition to AB 257, or the FAST Act. The effort by the Save Local Restaurants coalition will give California voters a say on the law’s damaging impacts before it goes into effect on January 1, 2023.
Editor’s Note: For a referendum to appear on the November 2024 ballot in California, supporters were required to submit 623,000 valid voter signatures by December 4, 2022. If enough of the 1 million-plus signatures pass muster, AB 257 will be put on hold until the November 2024 election results are tallied.
“The FAST Act would have an enormous impact on Californians, and clearly voters want a say in whether it should stand. The measure would establish an unelected council to control labor policy in the counter-service restaurant industry, cause food prices to increase by as much as 20% during a period of decades-high inflation, and harm thousands of small family-, minority-, and women-owned businesses across the state,” according to the Save Local Restaurants coalition. “Given that fewer than one-third of Californians support AB 257, it is no surprise that more than 1 million Californians have voiced their concerns with the legislation. The Save Local Restaurants coalition is committed to helping ensure this bad law will not go into effect and voters have their voices heard.”
The Save Local Restaurants coalition, led by the IFA, the National Restaurant Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is made up of small business owners, restaurant owners, franchisees, employees, consumers, and community-based organizations.
“The FAST Act is one of the single most damaging pieces of legislation for local restaurants and California consumers,” added Matthew Haller, CEO of the IFA. “Since the introduction of the FAST Act, the IFA has been at the forefront of the fight to protect local restaurant owners from being unfairly targeted by this flawed legislation, and California consumers from facing skyrocketing food prices at the worst possible time. The state’s own data shows this bill isn’t necessary and that the quick-service industry is being singled out by special interests. The IFA will not stop fighting to ensure other states won’t suffer from the harm that California has started.”
Background – and why AB 257 is a threat to franchising
AB 257, signed into law on Sept. 5, 2022, is based on the flawed premise that working conditions are worse in counter-service restaurants than in other food sector establishments, which is why they are being singled out by this bill. According to a recent analysis by the Employment Policies Institute, this assertion is categorically false and not supported by the state’s own data. California’s own Department of Finance opposed the measure, saying it would create a “fragmented regulatory and legal environment for employers and raise long-term costs across industries.”
According to an analysis by UC Riverside, prices at quick-service restaurants will increase up to 20% with passage of AB 257. Recent polling has shown that fewer than one-third of Californians support this bill. In addition, a survey by the Employment Policies Institute of U.S. labor economists found that 83% oppose AB 257. The survey reflects economists’ deep concerns about the negative impacts of this bill on fast-food industry growth, jobs, and price inflation.
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